iOS 14.3: Apple now reveals how iOS apps are using your data

Apple recently pushed out its iOS 14.3 update and it has introduced a new App Store privacy labelling feature that gives users a way to see what data an app collects about them before they choose to install it.

The tech giant first announced the privacy labels at its Worldwide Developers Conference back in June. Last month, Apple told its developers that they needed to include privacy details by 8 December or risk losing the ability to update their apps.

According to the Cupertino based company, the privacy labels are required for apps on all of Apple’s platforms including iOS, iPad OS, macOS, watchOS and tvOS. Furthermore, Apple said the privacy labels also need to be up to date and accurate every time a developer submits a new update.

WhatsApp has argued that Apple was being unfair as the requirement was not applicable to first-party apps like iMessage, which isn’t available on the App Store.

Following that, the Verge reported that Apple responded by saying its own first-party apps will also have the same disclosures on their App Store product pages. If the app does not have an App Store product page, Apple said it would provide the privacy label information on the web.

The privacy labels in iOS 14.3 are broken down into three categories: “data used to track you,” “data linked to you,” and “data not linked to you.”

According to Apple, “data used to track you” means the app developer is linking data from the app with data from other companies’ apps or websites for targeted advertising. The company adds that tracking also means the sharing of user or device information with companies that sell it, like data brokers.

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As for the “data linked to you” label, that indicates that data can be used to identify you. This means data that is gleaned from using the app or having an account with the service or platform. Any data that is pulled from the device itself could be used to create a profile for advertising purposes.

Finally, the “data not linked to you” is meant to indicate when certain data types like location data or browsing history, are not being linked to the user in any way that can be identified.

We checked the Malaysian App Store to see which popular apps have implemented Apple’s new privacy labels. Notable apps like Facebook and Grab have the privacy labels. However, other apps like MySejahtera and Mae by Maybank2U are missing the labels.

That being said, Apple is just getting started and it plans to make more privacy changes to future versions of iOS 14. It aims to release another new privacy feature requiring developers to ask for explicit permission to track iOS device users across apps and websites using a unique device identifier, called an IDFA (or Identification for Advertisers) code. The feature is said to roll out sometime next year in order to give developers more time to comply.

For more information of Apple’s app privacy details, you can learn more here.

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